The future of contact centers, the fintech ecosystem, and much more...
with Gonçalo Consiglieri, Visor.ai
[FH]: Where do you think the evolution of this technology (chatbot) is heading? To what extent can we replace human communication by AI in customer service and sales, as there is more and more talk about customization and empathy in the sales process?
[GC]: Before the pandemic some companies had already realized that the way customer services were normally organized was not efficient and there were already some efforts to change this situation. With the emergence of the pandemic, the majority of contacts between people and companies have migrated from face-to-face channels to the so called "alternative" channels such as chat, e-mail and phone, which has brutally accelerated the need to redefine the strategy so that it is possible to give an increasingly better customer service while optimizing resources and achieving efficiency gains.
At this point it's no longer a question of whether or not to move towards automation solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots in the contact channels, all companies will have to do it, it's about identifying the best strategy to get there and which are the ideal partners to help these companies make this transition and this is where Visor.ai stands out in the financial sector for its robust and user-friendly platform and for all the knowledge and experience already acquired working with some of the biggest players in the market like Generali, Millennium BCP, Fidelidade, Zurich, BNP Paribas among dozens of other clients.
Visor.ai's goal is not to replace human communication by Artificial Intelligence, but to use Artificial Intelligence to increase human capacity, automate what is simple and repeatable and leave to humans the more complex functions that require a high decision capacity. Basically, what is happening in the Contact Centers in the 21st century is what happened in the factories in the 19th century, which consisted of huge assembly lines composed of dozens or hundreds of people performing all tasks manually and repetitively with often precarious working conditions. Today the factories that are prepared to face the future obviously have highly qualified and specialized workers, but they also have a lot of technology, automation, and eventually even more supervision jobs, like engineers and quality auditors, than workers. Obviously this transition that is occurring right now has many challenges and one of them is the fact that you may lose the human touch in this contact and the sensitivity to manage the most sensitive issues in a correct way. That is where the role of Responsible AI comes in, an aspect where Visor.ai is extremely involved, which aims to ensure that this transition is made in the most responsible way possible and that the AI solutions have that human aspect that is often missing in the solutions that currently exist. It's in this aspect that contact center assistants play a key role, they are usually people who know the business very well and have a lot of experience with the customer, which means they have the ideal profile to assume the role of no-code Data Scientists with the objective of training the Artificial Intelligence models so that they become more and more intelligent, having these people as "teachers" which is excellent from the point of view of the qualification of their jobs, excellent from the point of view of the competitiveness of the companies they work for and obviously for the country's economy which becomes much more competitive.
[FH]: What is the core characteristic of the candidate for your team?
[GC]: A candidate needs to be able to fit into our collaborative culture, be a team player who understands where we are and where we want to go and be willing to adapt and grow with the company. Most of Visor.ai's senior positions are held by people who grew up at Visor.ai, who breathe our culture and know the company like no other. More recently, we have strengthened the company with a few other people who already have several years of experience in other companies and other realities, but who have gone through very rigorous selection processes, namely in terms of our culture. We have had a lot of skill and a good deal of luck in attracting the best people for the right positions, and this is half the battle for things to go well.
[FH]: What is the biggest advice you would give to a startup that is now taking its first steps into the fintech market?
[GC]: The greatest advice I can give is to focus on the problem. The most important thing in the initial phase of an entrepreneur, especially a first-time entrepreneur, is not to fall in the trap of falling in love with the solution or product you are developing, without first dedicating enough effort to identify if it really solves a problem that is big enough that there is room to create a business around it. Once the problem is very well identified and quantified, it is important to put together a whole narrative around the problem in order to build a business around it. This narrative should include a macro vision for the company as a whole and start iterating as much as possible with as many people as possible, ideally people who fit the persona they want to sell to and listen very carefully to the feedback they receive, only then will it be possible to improve and create a product that is truly customer-centric. Never be afraid that the idea will be copied, because if the idea is easily copied, it is unlikely that a business with potential will emerge, because the barriers to entry are low and it is a matter of time before the market is completely filled. Last and most relevant: don't give up! This is not to say that you should insist on what you already know won't work. If something doesn't work, it is important to quickly switch to something that might work until you get to a model that really works. That's why ideas are living beings, which are constantly under construction and are only good if they actually solve a problem, not the other way around
[FH]: What value do you derive from being involved in the Fintech House fintech ecosystem?
[GC]: Although Visor.ai is agnostic in terms of sectors of activity, it has a special focus on financial sectors such as Banking and Insurance, because that's where more than 80% of our current turnover is and where we want to grow in the coming years, both in Portugal and abroad. Our connection to the Fintech House has been a strategic bet to keep us close to the fintech ecosystem, from which several collaboration and networking opportunities have arisen. With our new positioning and new image, we present ourselves as a more mature company, in a scaleup phase, able to work with the major incumbents in the financial sector and without a doubt Fintech House has been essential in this process